Hans Weiditz, Emperor Charles V, coloured woodcut on vellum

Germany, AD 1519

Ferdinand Columbus owned an impression of this print

The woodcut depicts the young Charles V in the year he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. It is printed on vellum presumably as a deluxe coloured edition for wealthy clients. The lengthy inscription below describes the extent of his office and his territories. The name in the lower right, Jost de Negker, is that of the highly skilled woodcutter who played a very important part in the development of the fine woodcut in Europe.

Printed portraiture such as this developed only in the first decades of the sixteenth century, at a time when the ruling classes became increasingly aware of the value of producing and distributing images of themselves.

An impression of this print was part of the now-lost collection of Ferdinand Columbus (1488-1539), son of Christopher Columbus. An inventory in Seville describes in careful detail 3,204 prints that once formed part of this outstanding library, which at the time of his death contained 15,000 volumes. Although Ferdinand's print collection has now vanished, the Seville inventory has allowed its partial reconstruction using other impressions of the prints from around the world.

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More information


M. McDonald, Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissanc (London, British Museum Press, 2005)


Height: 356.000 mm
Width: 203.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1862-2-8-55



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